Journal Article

Molecular evolution and phylogeny of the <i>RPB2</i> gene in the genus <i>Hordeum</i>

Genlou Sun, Mohammad Pourkheirandish and Takao Komatsuda

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 103, issue 6, pages 975-983
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Molecular evolution and phylogeny of the RPB2 gene in the genus Hordeum

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

It is known that the miniature inverted-repeat terminal element (MITE) preferentially inserts into low-copy-number sequences or genic regions. Characterization of the second largest subunit of low-copy nuclear RNA polymerase II (RPB2) has indicated that MITE and indels have shaped the homoeologous RPB2 loci in the St and H genome of Eymus species in Triticeae. The aims of this study was to determine if there is MITE in the RPB2 gene in Hordeum genomes, and to compare the gene evolution of RPB2 with other diploid Triticeae species. The sequences were used to reconstruct the phylogeny of the genus Hordeum.


RPB2 regions from all diploid species of Hordeum, one tetraploid species (H. brevisubulatum) and ten accessions of diploid Triticeae species were amplified and sequenced. Parsimony analysis of the DNA dataset was performed in order to reveal the phylogeny of Hordeum species.

Key Results

MITE was detected in the Xu genome. A 27–36 bp indel sequence was found in the I and Xu genome, but deleted in the Xa and some H genome species. Interestingly, the indel length in H genomes corresponds well to their geographical distribution. Phylogenetic analysis of the RPB2 sequences positioned the H and Xa genome in one monophyletic group. The I and Xu genomes are distinctly separated from the H and Xa ones. The RPB2 data also separated all New World H genome species except H. patagonicum ssp. patagonicum from the Old World H genome species.


MITE and large indels have shaped the RPB2 loci between the Xu and H, I and Xa genomes. The phylogenetic analysis of the RPB2 sequences confirmed the monophyly of Hordeum. The maximum-parsimony analysis demonstrated the four genomes to be subdivided into two groups.

Keywords: Molecular evolution; RPB2; Hordeum; transposable element; phylogeny

Journal Article.  5553 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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